Getting bored of lockdown and being stuck at home? Starting to really miss your office and your commute to campus? Fear not, this month’s Research Software Community newsletter is here to brighten your day with our usual mix of monthly news and details of some of the very many research software-related events and activities that are now available online to keep you informed, up to date, occupied and help you maintain contact with the wider community! More seriously, we hope you’re all well, staying safe and keeping busy in these challenging and unprecedented times. Whether you’re struggling to manage family or caring responsibilities alongside work, or whether you’re feeling isolated and cut-off from your regular contacts with others and your daily routines, these are difficult times for everyone. We’d like to thank the members of our community, and the many people beyond our community, involved in work to help understand and fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We’d also like send a huge thank you to those members of our community who may now be working on the frontline in the NHS, together with the wider healthcare community, who are all working so hard to provide vital care and support to people directly affected by the virus in these extremely difficult times.
Along with people in many other domains, the research software community has been enthusiastic in making the switch to virtual events so there’s lots going on. We hope you find items of interest among this month’s digest of meetings, workshops, blog posts and news and, as ever, do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions or material for an upcoming newsletter.
FutureLearn’s Python in High Performance Computing course starts on Monday 27th April. This is a 4 week course requiring 4 hours study per week.
General applications for the eLife Innovation Sprint 2020 open on Monday 27th April and close on May 24th. The event takes place on 2nd/3rd September in Cambridge, UK. If you’d like to join without a project idea, you can submit a general application. Alternatively, Diego Alonso Álvarez from Imperial’s RSE team is leading a project proposal for the event based on R2T2 - contact Diego for further information.
The International Fortran Conference 2020 takes place from 2nd-4th July 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland, or remotely, depending on the COVID-19 situation. Deadline for abstract submissions: 1st May 2020.
Imperial’s team of volunteer Software Carpentry helpers and instructors will be running the next of their very popular introductory 2-day R Software Carpentry courses, R for reproducible scientific analysis, on May 4th and 11th. The course will take place online. See the course webpage for registration information.
If you have an interest in or are working with signal processing technologies, you may be interested in this year’s IEEE ICASSP (International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing) conference, 4th-8th May 2020, which, in addition to going virtual, is now offering free attendance to anyone not presenting a paper. See the conference registration page for further details.
The next IDEAS-productivity Best Practices for HPC Software Developers webinar on Accelerating Numerical Software Libraries with Multi-Precision Algorithms takes place on Wednesday 13th May 2020 at 13:00 EDT (18:00 UK). Registration required.
UCL’s Knowledge Quarter Codes Tech Social events have moved online. The next talk will be given by Joaquin Rapela, UCL at 15:00 on Wednesday 20th May 2020. See the KQCodes events page for registration and details of future events.
The University of Sheffield GPU Hackathon 2020 will take place online from 27th-31st July. The call for GPU Hackathon 2020 Team Applications closes on 27th May 2020.
The ISC High Performance conference that takes place annually in Frankfurt, Germany has, this year, had to be cancelled. Instead, ISC High Performance 2020 has been replaced with a cut-down online version of the conference from 22nd-24th June 2020 which will be free to join.
Looking ahead - some further events that may be of interest in the coming months:
There are tentative plans for a lunchtime Mechanical Engineering-focused RSE event to take place at Imperial in mid-to-late summer. This would follow a similar model to the previous Materials and Physics events run by the Imperial research software community. Our ability to proceed with the event will depend on how the current situation develops over the coming weeks and more information will appear in next month’s newsletter. In the meantime, if you are working with software in Mech Eng and would be interested to speak at this event or would like further information, please contact Stefano Galvan.
JuliaCon 2020, is planned to take place in Lisbon, Portugal on the 27th-31st July 2020.
The first Nordic RSE conference is planned to take place in Stockholm, Sweden on the 21st/22nd October 2020. Further details will be announced soon and you can register to receive updates on the conference webpage.
Event cancellations: The current situation is, unfortunately, resulting in the cancellation of some previously announced key events in the annual RSE calendar:
deRSE20 - the 2nd International Conference for Research Software Engineers in Germany that was due to take place in Jena, Germany in August 2020 has been cancelled. See the announcement on the deRSE20 page.
It has unfortunately also been necessary to cancel RSECon2020, the annual UK RSE conference that was due to take place in Birmingham, UK in September 2020. See the cancellation announcement.
In addition, PyLondinium 2020 (5th-7th June 2020), that we highlighted in last month’s newsletter, has been postponed.
Imperial’s RSE team have started a Research Computing Tips series which will provide useful short RSE and HPC-related tips weekly. The first two entries in the series look at Running Docker images using Singularity and Git shortcuts using aliases. Check back regularly for new tips!
UKRI has opened a funding call for ideas that address COVID-19. The call is for projects of up to 18 months in length and there is no closing date specified.
With the cancellation of the 2020 UK RSE Conference, as highlighted above, we’re looking at possible opportunities to run an Imperial-based RSE community event towards the end of 2020. If you have thoughts, ideas or suggestions on the possibility of running such an event, or you’d be interested to help with organisation if we decide that it is practical to go ahead with organising an event, get in touch with Mark Woodbridge or Jeremy Cohen.
Dan Iorga (Imperial, Computing) has written a short post Uncovering multicore interference based on work he and co-authors have published in their RTAS2020 paper (see link in the blog post).
The Alan Turing Institute have started The Turing Podcast looking at data science, AI and machine learning related topics.
A RAL Technical Report has been published looking at a Comparison of several FFT libraries in C/C++.
If you’re working with or interested in Natural Language Processing (NLP), version 1.0 of Stanza, a Python NLP library, has now been released.
Two new episodes of the US RSE community’s RSE Stories series have been posted looking at Package Management with EasyBuild and software in agriculture.
If you use Docker Compose, take a look at Awesome Compose which provides a wide range of examples for running application stacks and services using Docker Compose.
The US Research Software Sustainability Institute (URSSI) have posted an article on their blog looking at Scientific Software Projects and Their Communities.
With the shift to online training and teaching, there are lots of experiences emerging of using different technologies and approaches for running online workshops. Matt Williams of Bristol’s RSE group has written up a post Reflections on our first online programming workshop.
Our Research Software of the Month for April is the covid19model code for modelling estimated deaths and cases for COVID19. Some of you may be aware of the series of COVID-19 reports that are being released regularly by Imperial’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis. covid19model was released on GitHub alongside Report 13 on 30th March 2020. The code, written in R, and released under an MIT licence, has gained significant interest with over 600 GitHub stars being assigned within the 3 weeks since it was released. The code undertakes calculations for a set of 11 European countries, as detailed in the associated report. A website is now also available presenting the outputs from the code.
This month we have a couple of job opportunities to highlight that may be of interest to members of the community:
The Centre for Health Economics & Policy Innovation within the Business School are looking for a Software Engineer to work on re-engineering of a simulation tool in C++. The role will involve working with research teams in London and Paris and may be based at either location. Contact the STOP Management Team at email@example.com for details and information on how to submit an expression of interest in this role.
Essential Software Engineering for Researchers: Registration is open for the RSE team’s two Essential Software Engineering for Researchers courses:
Research Software Community Committee: The Research Software Community is run by a committee of 8 volunteers. We’re always looking for new committee members to help bring new ideas, organise events, edit our newsletters and generally help in making the community work for its members. If you’d like to get involved, or you have any questions, contact Jeremy Cohen.
RS Community Slack workspace: A new Slack workspace is available for members of the RS Community and RSEs based at nearby institutions. It was set up following discussions at December’s Winter Seminars event and you can join via this link.
RCS Clinics: The Research Computing Service continues to run a weekly clinic for all matters related to research computing. Clinics are now running online. Bring along your HPC or programming problem or just come to talk (virtually) to the RSE team about your (or their!) work. See the schedule for dates and locations of upcoming clinics.
Imperial Research Software Directory: If you’re developing open source research software at Imperial then please consider submitting it to the Research Software Directory by either opening a pull request or dropping a line to Mark Woodbridge (firstname.lastname@example.org).
That’s all for this month. Thanks to everyone who suggested links for this edition.
Drop us a line with anything you’d like included in the newsletter, ideas about how it could be improved… or even offer to guest-edit a future edition! email@example.com.
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This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Jeremy Cohen. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.